Update 1/5/10 – Buddy’s Owners Speak Out and Romero’s Sister Arrested
On December 30th a male German shepherd/blue heel mix dog was found dead with a rope around it’s neck and dumped on the Colorado National Monument. It was a crime that shocked the community. The dog, Buddy, had evidently been tied to a vehicle and forced to run then when he could no longer keep up, he was dragged for three miles, suffering, tortured and strangled then tossed like garbage. Tracks in the snowed show the cruel story.
“We’ve not seen this type of heinous crime in the monument before and I certainly hope we don’t see it again,” said Colorado National Monument superintendent Joan Anzelmo. “The animal apparently was attached to the vehicle at the base of the west hill, and as the vehicle accelerated, first it was walking then it was running. It couldn’t keep up and was being drug and strangled as it got to the three mile mark on the west hill,” she said.
Video surveillance showed a double-cab pickup truck entering the monument at 2:18 a.m. Wednesday, 12/30, with a dog in the bed of the truck and another camera capture the same truck leaving at 2:30am without the dog.
Between studying the surveillance tapes and tips, National Park Rangers were led to Steven Clay Romero, 37 of Grand Junction. Outside Romero’s residence they found paw prints in the front yard and a search of the garage turned up rope matching that which was found around Buddy’s neck.
“Romero’s sister stated that the dog was in their home and Romero said he was going to kill it,” the affidavit said. “She stated he left with the dog late last night and returned home a half hour later without it.”
A neighbor also said that they saw Romero leave the house with a dog that fit Buddy’s description and return home without it.
Romero, who has been arrested six times in the past seven years by police in Montrose and Grand Junction on a variety of charges, including weapons offenses, traffic violations and drug distribution, was arrested as he emerged from a courtroom in the Grand Junction Courthouse on 12/31 from a hearing on a drug and weapon-related case stemming from a Sept. 12 arrest at a local motel. Romero was charged with one count of aggravated cruelty towards animals which carries a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a fine of $100,000, and one year of mandatory parole.
Denied bail, Romero said, “I don’t get it,” at which point Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer tossed a copy of the charges on the table in front of him.
“So, in other words I’ll be sitting in jail and probably lose my job, too?” Romero asked.
“Yes,” the judge responded.
And as horrific as this crime is, what makes it even worse, it that’s possible, is that this dog did not belong to Romero, it was stolen from its rightful owners!!
This waste of human life callously tortures an innocent animal for no reason and just doesn’t get it why his ass is sitting in jail. Here’s to hoping to learn the lesson that hard way!
Please take a moment to sign the petition asking that Steven Clay Romero be given the maximum penalty allowed by law; three years in federal prison and a fine of $100,000, and one year of mandatory parole, especially considering his past record of criminal offenses!
Romero’s sister, Melissa Lockhart, 32, is now facing felony theft charges for stealing Buddy the day before her brother killed the dog. Buddy and another dog were taken from the back of a pickup that belonged to his owners.
“She indicated three different stories to me, none of which were feasible,” Delta Police Sgt. Brad Lamb said. “Basically, they were different versions of she felt the dogs were abandoned.”
Lockhart turned herself in on Saturday, 1/2 and has been released on $5000 bond.
Romero federal court Monday and was appointed a public defender. He whined about being harassed by other inmates in the Mesa County Jail.
“Pretty much everybody thinks I’ve done it,” Romero told the judge.
Awww, poor baby…. hope they harass the hell out of him… for starters! No sympathy! Psychopath! Should have thrown his sister in there to keep him company, maybe she’d have offered him a little sympathy!
Buddy’s Owners Speak Out
Through all this sad and horrific story we haven’t heard from the other victims of this crime, those who loved and cherish Buddy, their furry family member that was so cruelly ripped from them, Joe and Sasha Leber.
Joe and Sasha were just enjoying a quiet brunch in C and J’s Cafe in Delta while Buddy and Max, their other dog, who went everywhere, with them were just lounging peacefully in the back of the Leber’s pickup. That’s when the horror story began.
“We looked in the back of our truck, because it’s pretty unusual for them not to be there. We start calling for them, then a lady comes out,” Joe said. “She asked if that truck was ours, we told her yeah. She said three Hispanic males stole our dogs out of the back of the truck.”
The Leber’s had rescued Buddy from a shelter more than 4 years ago and like any pet owner, they know that one day they would have to face the loss of their companion but never did they imagine it would be like this.
“He was more than a dog to us, he was our friend, he was our family member,” Sasha said.
“For this guy to take him, and torture him, and just do what he did to him, was un humanlike,” said Joe Leber.
Thankfully Max was found and returned to the Leber’s but they still have to deal with Buddy’s cruel death and the question they hear from their children, “When they come to us and ask us ‘where’s Buddy,’ what are we supposed to say? All we can tell them is that he’s gone.”
My heartfelt condolences to the Leber’s for the loss of their beloved dog. May you rest in peace Buddy, know that many, many people are fighting every day for justice for you.
As for Romero, may you suffer every day on earth and face the torments of hell in the afterlife!